What better way to join a site you've wanted to join for quite a while (ukgameshows.com) than to create your own site and take information and sentences from it? I do, however, need to print a correction – in issue 10 I said that 35 episodes of I'm the Answer went unaired. The source has since been corrected; 66 episodes were produced, though 42 episodes went unaired. In fact, the more I read that issue, the more errors I find; we've corrected a since amended chart information for James Arthur, while we missed Drop the Celebrity entirely.
We regret to chronicle the December 7th death of Greg Lake, aged 69, from cancer; he was responsible for one of the most devotedly Christian Christmas classics of all, I Believe In Father Christmas, and was a third of Emerson, Lake and Palmer when they had a hit with Fanfare For the Common Man. Both songs charted at #2, falling foul of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen and So You Win Again by Hot Chocolate respectively. His death follows the suicide of Keith Emerson on 11 March. I must thank Lake for withholding news until the next day, since my father had an operation to remove his bile duct cancer that day (it's gone, but he's having another operation to suck up loose fluid which turned up afterwards and at the time of writing he's got MRSA as well).
In the week that Bing Crosby re-entered the UK Singles Chart at #97 with the original version of the world's highest selling single, Billie Marten has covered Bing Crosby's White Christmas. Given its ubiquity, we weren't surprised to see several versions had cropped up in the charts; Mantovani and Pat Boone entered the charts are straight covers, while Darts adds a rockabilly shot and Lady Gaga adds a new verse. Many comedians attacked it; Freddie Starr and Jim Davidson released vulgar versions, while Keith Harris and Orville and Max Bygraves also charted (though in Bygraves' case he was a respected singer before he went into comedy). Bryn Terfel also took an operatic version into the charts. Let me begin my review for Marten's new version by saying that if you are interested in popular music, this song is not for you; if you're interested in hearing a crystal-clear vocalist brought to the forefront, this is made for you. Propped up only by a deep guitar and bizarre sound effects, Marten's crystal-clear vocals are about the only decent thing in this record, and shine like bullion in a gold mine. Beautiful, but no chance.
From the original Christmas classic to, in my opinion, a modern Christmas classic, If Every Day Was Christmas is the début release of Cruz Beckham, eleven year old son of Victoria Beckham, on 7 December; think Baby-era Justin Bieber on a chunk of aggressive dance pop like All I Want For Christmas, but without the moronic coos Bieber's early work was lambasted for.
We were surprised to see it condemned as "pimping out" by Good Morning Britain irritant Piers Morgan (don't judge me, I'd gone to put Countdown on and ITV was the first channel I came to), who suggested that eleven years old is too young to be entering a risky industry. This will come as news to Jimmy Osmond, who took the Christmas number one slot in 1972 with Long Haired Lover From Liverpool (my Maths teacher used to be one of them!); he was nine years old, and known as Little Jimmy Osmond. If the boy can sing, why the hell shouldn't he be releasing music? This thoroughly deserves to be a big hit. Leave the poor kid alone. Let him present his morning television show in peace.
Now this is an interesting release. You would expect, given the presence of no fewer than five credited artists on the record, that DJ Fresh and Diplo's new record Bang Bang featuring R. City, Selah Sue and Craig David would have a crowded quality about it. Instead, Selah Sue adds a few sugary breathers here and there, while Craig David takes over from R. City halfway through, and it is a breath of fresh air. Indeed, it is the instrumental which sounds stale, like a slowed down version of something straight out of the 1990s breakbeat scene, and it's like waiting for a learner driver to put his foot down. A pity.
Just a word of warning; this is not the same G.R.L. that had previously entered the charts. One of their members topped themselves, they split up, and then two of the members – admittedly the two members whose names I'd bothered learning – revived the band with a third person, Jazzy Mejia. Frankly, they should have let G.R.L. rest in peace. They've chucked together bits from several songs – the "are we, are we good"s are reminiscent of Tove Lo's Cool Girl but without the sensual, hot water bottle house synth to warm it up, while the repeated "I'mma brush it off, that's just me" honks of Kid Ink's spoiler in Fifth Harmony's Worth It, and here it jars against the straight-down-to-business introduction – not that I would have otherwise particularly minded, but not only is this the same G.R.L. that were up in arms over Little Mix's Shout Out to My Ex's alleged plagiarism of their original incarnation's Ugly Heart but what they've done with them is to compound them to produce a steaming set of electronics that frankly deserves being impounded; slap-bass over the chorus, given the context of blues-and-twos elsewhere on the record, feel like doctors frantically trying to revive a dead person. I'd rather listen to a minor than a Mejia (the minor being Cruz Beckham).
The ever-pleasant Izzy Bizu is back, this time with the gloriously uplifting Talking to You. Just the piano on its own would have warmed the record up, with Bizu's vivacious vocals enough to add soul to almost anything, though the early drum machine-cum-clip-clop drum beat bastardises the track like a tattoo on a pretty girl's cheek. A shame.
That Raye gets everywhere doesn't she? We can remember her chucking her voice down on throwaway EP tracks, and now she's lent her vocals to Jax Jones' You Don't Know Me, the sort of sprightly house a higher quality nightclub might dismiss as fodder. The flat bassline contrasts violently with Raye's wild vocals (and other miscellaneous effects), and after a couple of listens I've got a banging headache. I don't want to know.
Eh? It's Love Thy Neighbour, surely? Anyway, Liam Bailey's Love My Neighbour is a relaxing track; Bailey applies his usual soulful vocal across …erm, very little actually. Just a bit of piano and the gentle kick of a drum. Keeping it simple makes a welcome change from some of the electronics I review; it is the equivalent of my Scrabble club, taking a bit of time out to do something at a completely different speed is good for you. Well worth a listen.
You wait ages for a girlband to release something and then two do so at once. M.O's Not in Love is everything Shout Out to My Ex tried to be; condemnation of an ex-boyfriend which doesn't descend into depression. Slight reggae touches, like the lyrics, are sufficiently jeering as to get its point across without excess. Unfortunately, rent-a-rap Kent Jones not only adds nothing, but misinterprets M.O's lyrics in the writing of his rap and as a whole his contribution subtracts from the record. A crying shame.
Incidentally, just because I only use reliable sources in the making of this website does not mean to say that I ignore the unreliable ones. I like to have a snigger at when websites clearly have not done their research (or in this case, not even bothered to look at the cover art). A recent blog posting about M.O's new track Not in Love from 247musichub.com described M.O as a "Danish singer / song writer" – that's MØ!
Gawd, awful! The vocals on this record are actually quite pleasant, and the juxtaposition between Hill's soft and sensual vocals and Jauregui's comparatively raspy truck work a treat amongst what would otherwise be an ideal impoverishment of synths were it not for a cesspit of horrid sound effects: Whoever strung that stupidly shrill "oh, oh oh oh, oh oh, oh" together needs being poleaxed, whoever dribbled distortion all over the third verse needs being poleaxed.
Matoma's got Heart Won't Forget out, with vocals from Gia; good on the singer's heart, because I'd love to. Nested in Matoma's bewilderness is Gia's sickly-sweet singing which, whilst adding a modicum of order to proceedings, is like dropping the contents of a can of golden syrup on to a genesis tub.
I really do review some weird stuff on here. The female rapper from Crank It earlier in the year, Nadia Rose, has sampled an obscure Red Rat record (Tight-up Skirt) for her own Tight Up, and frankly sped up Rat sounds his most sensible. (We listened to Tight-up Skirt in preparation for this, and my God, that man's as whiny as it gets, with equally asinine lyrics.) What this record lacks in decent flow it makes up for in moody bass and punctuative synths, and it is a decent listen.
Gorgon City have remixed Zara Larsson's I Would Like this week. We had nothing positive to say about the original when we reviewed it in issue 20, noting that "repetitive synths and nondescript percussion run ad nauseam, and frankly the whole thing plays like a fat kid sat on top of a CD player with a broken record in it". Gorgon City's remix is slightly slicker, adds house-like percussion and extends the record slightly at the beginning and end but the changes are in essence polishing a turd, and it has the feel of two veterans manhandling a teenage girl. It is, I grant you, an improvement over the cloying original.
My wholehearted thanks to Rachel and Ryelee for their video which contains Zayn and Taylor Swift's collaboration I Don't Wanna Live Forever, since Swift's spat with Spotify, my usual music source, means her music doesn't appear there. I wasn't expecting politics to get in the way of music until next week's tribute to murdered MP Jo Cox.
Anyway, I Don't Wanna Live Forever comes across as a Zayn song that just so happens to feature Swift which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but she does feel remarkably out of place given how dark the record sounds. It's like dark chocolate with clementines; on paper it may sound foul, but it is a pleasant enough listen.
Another consequence of streaming; there are now twenty festive fripperies in the chart. We have an error to correct; between compiling the last chart and this one, Cold Water and All Night have been the wrong way round. Apologies for that.
|New peak/previous peak||Floundering||Absent|
||False Alarm (Weeknd)
Famous (Nathan Sykes)
Hurts (Emeli Sandé)
Rhythm Inside (Calum Scott)
You Don't Know Love (Olly Murs)
On Hold (The xx)
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